LAWS140 Civil Practice/Litigation Procedures

Department of Business Studies: Paralegal/Law

I. Course Number and Title
LAWS140 Civil Practice/Litigation Procedures
II. Number of Credits
3 credits
III. Number of Instructional Minutes
IV. Prerequisites
LAWS100 or LAWS110
V. Other Pertinent Information
VI. Catalog Course Description
Civil Practice/Litigation Procedures is a college level course that provides a student with knowledge of theory, procedure, and mechanics of the lawsuit from fact gathering through judgment enforcement, with emphasis on the Pennsylvania Court System. Students will be introduced to the litigation process through the use of sample cases.
VII. Required Course Content and Direction
  1. Course Learning Goals

    1. Perception and understanding of specific litigation tasks;
    2. Basic knowledge of the procedural rules and process found in the court system;
    3. Development of analytical skills and reasoning powers through case studies;
    4. Development of file preparation for litigation skills by the review and preparation of appropriate documentation use in the law office and in the court;
    5. Assemble the necessary information from client and witness interviews;
    6. Plan the necessary investigation;
    7. Understand the ethical considerations involved in the litigation process;
    8. Draft a complaint for use in federal and state courts;
    9. File the lawsuit, arrange for service of process and obtain a default judgement.
    10. Prepare and submit discovery requests;
    11. Prepare responsive pleadings; and
    12. Prepare necessary post-trial motions, including enforcement or judgement documentation.
  2. Planned Sequence of Topics and/or Learning Activities

    1. Introduction to Course
    2. The Law Office
    3. Structure and Personnel
      1. Law office procedures
      2. Ethical and other professional responsibilities
    4. Courts and Jurisdiction
      1. Jurisdiction
      2. Venue
    5. The Initial Interview
      1. Interview plan
      2. Interview
      3. Dealing with difficult clients
      4. Concluding the interview
      5. Confirming the Statute of Limitations
    6. Evidence
      1. Relationship of evidence law to investigation
      2. Evidence in general
      3. Admissible evidence
      4. Inadmissibility of some types of relevant evidence
      5. Privileges
      6. Evidence admissible from a party
      7. Rules regarding the testimony of a witness
      8. Authentication
      9. Sources for evidentiary research
    7. Investigation
      1. Review the file and other available information
      2. Essential elements of proof
      3. Identify needed facts
    8. Determine Sources
      1. Methods for gathering information or evidence
      2. Investigation plan ethics
      3. Gathering evidence
      4. Preserving evidence
      5. Reviewing the informal investigation
    9. Drafting the Complaint
      1. Definition and purpose
      2. Complaint in detail
      3. Body of the complaint
      4. Demand for judgment
      5. Demand for jury trial
      6. Exhibits and appendixes
    10. Film, - of Complaint
      1. Preparing documents
      2. Determination of documents
      3. Process of filing the complaint
      4. Service of process
      5. Eastern District
      6. Service on individuals in a foreign country
      7. Service on US; foreign, state, local government; outside geographical boundaries
      8. Filing proof of service of pleading
    11. Defending the Lawsuit
      1. Motions in general
      2. Motion to dismiss
      3. Removal of state action to Federal Court
      4. Computation of time
      5. Drafting the answer, counterclaim, and cross-claim
    12. Pleading
      1. Amending and supplementing the pleading
      2. Purpose and procedure
    13. Motion for Judgement on the Pleading
      1. Purpose
      2. Procedure
    14. Discovery Interrogatories
      1. Overview of discovery
      2. Scope of discovery
      3. Interrogatories
      4. Ethical issues in discovery
      5. Answering interrogatories
      6. Objections to interrogatories
    15. Discovery Depositions
      1. Production of documents
      2. Scope and procedure
      3. Drafting the request
      4. Service of the request
      5. Production procedure
      6. Request for physical and mental examination
      7. Request for admission
      8. Objections, compelling discovery
      9. Freedom of Information Act
    16. Pretrial Conference
      1. Settlement forms
      2. Alternative dispute resolutions
      3. Arbitration
    17. Trial
      1. Pretrial preparation
      2. Preparing the trial notebook
      3. Voir dire
      4. Subpoenas
      5. Client and witness preparation
      6. Preparation of evidence exhibits
      7. Pretrial options
      8. Opening statements
      9. Order of presentation
      10. Closing statements
      11. Jury charges (instructions)
      12. Ethical considerations at trial
    18. Appeals
      1. Time limits
      2. Procedure
    19. Judgments
      1. Enforcing judgments
      2. Relief from enforcement of judgments
  3. Assessment Methods for Course Learning Goals

  4. Reference, Resource, or Learning Materials to be used by Student:

    See course syllabus for required textbook.

Review/Approval Date - 4/99; Revised 4/05; New Core 8/2015